How Many Times Should You Tweet Your Blog Post?

Posted on Jun 17, 2010 | 132 comments


Last September I was on a panel with Guy Kawasaki talking about Twitter.  He said at the time that he Tweeted 4 times for every story that he wrote.  FOUR TIMES!  The exact same Tweet.  I couldn’t believe it.  His rationale was that he found that his audience was tuning into Twitter at several different times during the day and he found that four was the optimal number to convert enough of the people reading his posts into traffic back to his website.

I asked him whether he was worried that he was turning off potential followers who didn’t want their streams flooded every day with Guy Kawasaki Tweets.  He argued that anybody who followed enough people wouldn’t really notice much of a difference and if they followed so few people that they were significantly flooded then they were the wrong followers for him [on this point I'll never agree - I strive not to overwhelm any followers].  At the time I had a small enough group of people I followed that if anybody was in overdrive on posting for a day I always noticed (as I pointed out in Point 2 in this post).

I left the panel thinking that Guy was off base but realizing he had somewhat of a point.  I’ve argued previously that Twitter is a new form of curated RSS and in many ways it is.  But it is a transient RSS reader.  If you’re not logged in for a few hours and stuff passes through the pipes then it’s gone.  It’s true that there are ways to make sure you don’t miss stuff (like lists or segmenting traffic in TweetDeck) but most people don’t employ these techniques.  They just consume Twitter when they’re hungry for a conversation or some news right now.

So I started experimenting with multiple Tweets.  In particular I would schedule some Tweets (using CoTweet, which lets you schedule Tweets) to go out around 5:40am (in time for East Coast 8:40am consumption) and then again at 8:40am for West Coast time.  In fact, that is what I plan to do for this post.  I’ll finish writing around 1am and that’s a dumb time to Tweet because few people in the US are online.  Sometimes I would send a Tweet at 7pm and then again at 7.30am the next morning.  I wanted to see two things:

  • Would the second (or sometimes even third Tweet) convert enough people to my blog to make it worth potentially annoying some people on Twitter?
  • would I get a reaction from the Twitter community telling me it was too much?

I’d like to share my conclusions with you but then also ask you for feedback.  Many people reading today’s blog post would have seen it by clicking through on Twitter.  My questions for you:

  • how often do you notice my second Tweet? I’m going on the premise that on most days most users don’t notice.  Some will notice it all the time (either because you follow 70 or less people or because you’re often on Twitter)
  • how badly does it bother you when you do see a second Tweet?  Do you think to yourself, “I can understand why he’d send it twice because many people might not see the first one” or “man, is that annoying.  I wish Mark wouldn’t do that.” (I promise not to be offended by your answers – I’m trying to get a feel for the norm myself).

My conclusions

  1. If your goal is to send a Tweet that converts people to a blog post, sending more than one Tweet is recommended.  I would assert that people following you by definition are more likely to want to see content from you and therefore you’re better off sending 2 versus 1 Tweets (we’ll see from feedback on this site whether others feel the same way).  As an example you can see from my awe.sm logs a recent morning that 399 people clicked on my link on Twitter the night before at 7pm.  I send out a second Tweet at 7am and by 8:30am I already had 224 clicks.  This number often passes the first number by the end of the day.  If I sent out a third Tweet later (I didn’t) it likely would get about 50% as much as the morning one.  This means that there are still many people who haven’t seen it and would like to.

Note that these numbers only measure people who clicked on that exact link.  Many people swap out my short URL code and put in their own so I don’t capture 100% of the total clicks with the codes but if you look at the overall traffic from that morning on my blog you’ll see that my Twitter link accounts for about 15% of the morning traffic to my blog (this percentage will drop by the end of the day as more people arrive via RSS readers or referrals) and last night’s link accounted for about 10% of the daily traffic.

So my conclusion is that the second Tweet is generally worth it.  The third probably is also but I usually resist the temptation in the desire to balance “reach” with “frequency” so as not to piss people (you!) off.

2. I try not to “double Tweet” every day and I vary the time of day just to shake it up a bit.  You’ll see from this morning’s logs that my post today was featured prominently on Hacker News.  This always leads to a spike in traffic.  I could already see this by early AM so in this case I didn’t think it was worth RT’ing to get another 200 viewers through the door.

3. The smartest strategy I’ve seen is implemented by Babak Nivi over at VentureHacks.  He’ll send out multiple Tweets linking to the same story but with totally different text.  What he does is pull out specific quotes from the story and then Tweets those but linking back to the same story.  I find that this is more palatable for me than seeing the same Tweet 4 times (but has the downside of potentially driving people to your blog post that they may have already seen).

4. I also try to mix up my Tweets with a combo of  Tweets linking to my blog, Tweets making general comments like where I’m going that night and some Tweets where I ask a question to engage the audience (obviously where I generally want to know something).  I think this is important – otherwise your Twitter feed just becomes, literally, an RSS reader.

So, whaddaya think?

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Fair point. I'll definitely take that into consideration.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Me, too.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Me, too.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Yeah, that's the Nivi approach and I like it. Only fear was that I didn't want to confuse readers into thinking it was a new article. But I'll find the balance.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Yeah, that's the Nivi approach and I like it. Only fear was that I didn't want to confuse readers into thinking it was a new article. But I'll find the balance.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Thanks for feedback. I use the “email tweet” feature in UberTwitter exactly like you do.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Thanks for feedback. I use the “email tweet” feature in UberTwitter exactly like you do.

  • http://twitter.com/mikesimonsen mike simonsen

    I view Kawasaki as a spammer of the first order. The same as any MLM tweeter or affiliate marketer or adwords arbitrageur. He offers no value, just trying to trick you into generating pageviews on his site. It's an icky business.

    I tweet my blog posts once, and I say something like [from the blog] or [post] so my followers know. And those tweets are maybe 1% of my overall.

    The proportion of my blog readers using an RSS reader is falling, while visitors from Twitter and Facebook are climbing. So there's evidence that they actually look to my twitter stream to tell them when I post.

  • http://twitter.com/mikesimonsen mike simonsen

    I view Kawasaki as a spammer of the first order. The same as any MLM tweeter or affiliate marketer or adwords arbitrageur. He offers no value, just trying to trick you into generating pageviews on his site. It's an icky business.

    I tweet my blog posts once, and I say something like [from the blog] or [post] so my followers know. And those tweets are maybe 1% of my overall.

    The proportion of my blog readers using an RSS reader is falling, while visitors from Twitter and Facebook are climbing. So there's evidence that they actually look to my twitter stream to tell them when I post.

  • http://twitter.com/earbits Joey Flores

    I unfortunately don't have time to read all of the comments (though, read a lot of them) and there is one thing I haven't seen mentioned. If a person who isn't following you considers doing so and goes to your page to see what you talk about, and they see a bunch of double-Tweets, perhaps they think you will clutter up their page and they pass. So while you may drive more traffic from your current audience, you might be significantly discouraging the development of a larger one.

    Lastly, to address East and West coast, obviously you can test a few time slots for tweeting your posts and see which one works best for both worlds, but it probably still won't work as well as two Tweets.

  • http://twitter.com/earbits Joey Flores

    I unfortunately don't have time to read all of the comments (though, read a lot of them) and there is one thing I haven't seen mentioned. If a person who isn't following you considers doing so and goes to your page to see what you talk about, and they see a bunch of double-Tweets, perhaps they think you will clutter up their page and they pass. So while you may drive more traffic from your current audience, you might be significantly discouraging the development of a larger one.

    Lastly, to address East and West coast, obviously you can test a few time slots for tweeting your posts and see which one works best for both worlds, but it probably still won't work as well as two Tweets.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    re: quotes – great point. It's much more interesting and valuable to the consumers. I like this discussion – it's moving my thinking.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    re: quotes – great point. It's much more interesting and valuable to the consumers. I like this discussion – it's moving my thinking.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    I don't send emails – it's automated by Feedburner. If you got two then it's an error on their part.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    I don't send emails – it's automated by Feedburner. If you got two then it's an error on their part.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Thank you, David.

    I tried having some Tweets going directly from comments using Disqus's integration. But their implementation is buggy so I stopped using it. But I think your recommendation is my likely approach in the future.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Thank you, David.

    I tried having some Tweets going directly from comments using Disqus's integration. But their implementation is buggy so I stopped using it. But I think your recommendation is my likely approach in the future.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Agreed on all accounts. One additional thing I do – when I send a blog post I use the URL bothsid.es and when I tweet other stuff I use awe.sm or bit.ly.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Agreed on all accounts. One additional thing I do – when I send a blog post I use the URL bothsid.es and when I tweet other stuff I use awe.sm or bit.ly.

  • http://avc.com fredwilson

    You make some great points mark

    I generally tweet out my post every day around 10am eastern/7am pacific which is peak time on my blog

  • http://avc.com fredwilson

    You make some great points mark

    I generally tweet out my post every day around 10am eastern/7am pacific which is peak time on my blog

  • http://bwasearch.blogspot.com Donna Brewington White

    Except spammers are sending unsolicited emails whereas someone who follows you on Twitter has invited you into their space…they have deemed you as having something valuable to contribute…

  • http://bwasearch.blogspot.com Donna Brewington White

    If I'm following you on Twitter it is because I think you have something valuable to contribute and I want to access this. This means I WANT to know when you have something new to share on your blog and if you tweet it just once, I am likely to miss it since I follow over 2000 people and spend less than an average of an hour a day on Twitter. When I see up to three tweets about the same post strategically timed, I understand what you are doing and it will not bother me. It is very unlikely that I will see all three tweets anyway unless I specifically go over to your profile page.

    I think some people are using the term “spamming” a bit too loosely here.

    Guy is tweeting so often (and by proxy) that four tweets about his blog does not seem like a lot. I don't think people choose not to follow him because of how often he tweets about his blog, but because of how often he tweets period.

  • ThelegalRN

    Nice post. I had my blog connected to twitter so every time I post it would be “tweeted”. I recently changed the format of my blog with more content and links as multiple pages on word, so in essence people are getting 2-3 times the information as before yet it comes down to only 3-4 posts with huge amounts of content. Before I was posting 15-20 posts a day that would directly go to twitter. I was getting 4-5 twitter followers a day. Now I only get a couple a week. I just added the tweet/re-tweet next to my posts hoping this will help. Should I go back to the old style or continue with the said format. I am trying to build up a blog following (presently only 1,500 hits a month) Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Respectfully, The Legal RN-http://legalrn.blogspot.com

  • ThelegalRN

    Sorry for the link screw up. Here is my blog link: http://legalrn.blogspot.com Any critique would be appreciated. Thanks again.

  • thomsinger

    I think Twitter is a horrible communications tool…. but one that I and others still love to use. I agree that you need to have multiple tweets to be noticed by the majority of you followers, as they do not all see them if they are not looking at that time. Having them at different times of days is key. So many people now use groups, that many followers never even see anything you do anyway.

    Guy K has a great attitude about Twitter… if you do not like what he Tweets or how often he tweets, then he suggests you unfollow him. I feel the same way, and believe if I am just part of the “noise”, then dump my ass.

    In the end, other social media is a two way contract to “linking” and “Friending”… but with Twitter I can follow you and you need not follow me. So if someone is not using the tool the way you appreciate… move on.

    thom singer

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/markburdette Mark Burdette

    Thanks Mark for your post. Your comments and the comments of others on a topic that has been on the top of my mind has caused me to reevaluate my approach. Thank you and to your community of followers for that as I am always trying to fine tune my approach and be more effective in reaching people and sharing information. I am sensitive to the over-tweeting myself. My question to you, since I am a relatively new follower of yours, how much time do you spend and how often do you tweet your own content and the content of others? Have you found a good balance that works for you and your followers?

  • http://twitter.com/rahul2084 Rahul

    Mark, As a follower of yours I am fine with you tweeting the same article twice. I find your posts valuable and understand that you need to do it for increased distribution. If you would like to tweet it for the third time, how about using the quote approach of Nivi's or even quoting a phrase from a comment you find will be of value to readers (I try to go through the comments. A few end up being of value).

  • http://www.conorneill.com Conor

    At the very beginning of my twitter existance, Guy was one of my first people to follow. I stopped following after about a week because 50% of the tweet stream was him. I follow him again now because I have searches set up for the things that I am interested in within my tweet stream. I think 1 tweet is too few as it is such a transient service… but perhaps number 2, 3, 4 can highlight different aspects – an interesting new comment, another aspect of the core idea etc

  • http://venturehacks.com nivi

    You definitely want to tweet important things multiple times. We were in the WSJ. I tweeted it several times. Every time, it was like I had never tweeted it in the first place. The response kept getting bigger. Focus on delivering value to your readers and they won't mind. Complaints just mean they care.

  • http://www.knyshov.com Leonid S. Knyshov

    Try this as a reverse – I subscribed to you in RSS first and then followed you on Twitter. I follow about 1600 people (automated feeds are followed by my second account to avoid cluttering my RSS reader).

    I went as far as building my own tweet scheduler when I was heavily interested in promoting my various sites and meting new people. My #FF stream was quite unique (over 100 strategically spaced tweets with somewhat randomized timing). Since then, it's a bit of a quiet manual stream for now as I am very busy and focused with my current startup and suspended all of my distracting secondary projects.

    Fred Wilson's comment on only tweeting at 7am Pacific explains why I never see his tweets. :)

    I found 4hr intervals to be optimal. Don't forget to schedule a tweet for the nightowls. The stream is quite static around 2am Pacific and many tweets catch my attention.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/adrian.rogers101 Adrian

    Not sure if anyone has posted this yet.

    WordPress Tweeter automatically tweets new posts to your blog:
    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordpress-t

    Came across it today while fixing up my blog and thought of your post.